Jan

8

Old ManThis weekend, we hit Portsmouth, Exeter, Manchester (of course), and rally at St. Anselm's — where it is all happening.
 
The feeling we get, traversing the state, is that Hillary has her people plumping on intersections, jockeying with sign holders from Edwards, even on very same four or five square feet! and many signs on traffic triangles and such, but we saw a huge tilt toward Obama among hoi polloi.
 
Don't recall a single Huckabee sign or poster or knob-hanger. There's the respect that maketh money of such great moment.
 
Not much evidence of Ron Paul, though I did meet up with very cute and sexy men/boys who told me they had "flown in from all over the states," using $50K raised "mostly on the Internet" as one attractive Dakotan told me. They are staying "with families" and selling their guy hard, but the locals have not reported (to my hearing) a single vote for the guy.
 
McCain seems to have an edge, following their enchantment of 2000 (McCain by 20 points) and Romney is still very much in play. Rudy has his defenders and adherents. At the debate and thereafter (at our late-night party after St. Anselm's), people spoke approvingly of Rudy's bringing up Islamo-fascism as the key threat facing us, and that theme thence picked up by the others, including Romney and McCain. No sloughing it off as a "bumper sticker" (Edwards, 2007).
 
Edwards, with signage and lawncards everywhere, fighting with a few stragglers for Gravel (!), Richardson, even a stray Duncan Hunter yard sign, did not seem to have an operational machine working anywhere we were campaigning so hard on the retail-politiciking end.
 
Whether they wanted my guy or not, the people were sharp and informed, very friendly, except for some who groaned they "did not want to discuss politics, please!" because, as one guy shoveling his driveway grumbled with a rueful grin — "Don't ever move here…" "Why?" I asked, "too cold in winter? Too much snow?" "Naw, too many pollsters and politicos. We sometimes get as many as four people a day from different campaigners! Too much!" Every home is receiving cascading doorlit and mailers, and banks of callers unearth the vaguest tendril of a proponent with call after call, at all hours, even during live debates.
 
Again and again in the lanes and roadways and neatly laid out clapboard and shingled soapboxes and single-family homes of the state, people brought up the same trio: What about stopping those illegals and invading millions? What about Social Security - what's going to happen there? What about the cost of oil and fixed energy — how long are we going to be paying the Middle East for energy?
 
What will the Democrats do to address these issues? Their focus seems to be apart from these concerns. Even Democrats — as well as the famously "undecided independents" so beloved of pollsters and campaigners, seemed embarrassed to note that by far the leading resume on the Dem side was Bill Richardson, yet, in slightly embarrassed voices, they admitted they would be voting for Obama or Hillary — recognizing there were no great resumes on either of these two front-runners. The old "electability factor" determining a vote that would not ordinarily go to that default candidate.
 
No one could explain specifics of what, exactly, Hillary's "experience" consisted of, though she slings that "35 years of helping others" around the media airwaves like a rodeo cowgirl rehearses her lasso.
 
Saturday evening saw the last-minute switch of GOP/Dem debates, so that the GOP slate went first, followed by the Dems. Hillary was widely derided for her attempt at self-deprecating humor in answer to the "unlikable" question: "Gee, my feelings are hurt…"
 
Sunday: Loads and loads of people hors de combat at church, their cars missing from driveways that still boasted the semi or snow-plow on the alternate driveway. Fantastic, "War of the Worlds" massive silo in Exeter scared us half to death: Another Three-Mile Island manifestation? Turned out to be a water silo.
 
What is the value of distracting voters in the midst of listening to your guy answering live challenges by calling them away from the debaters and toward their ringing phones? Made little sense to us.
 
On the other hand: no taxes, crisp, clear, clean air; bracing neighbors; and a congeries of excellent little boites and eateries. Lots of independents actually still on the fence, two days before the vote. Surprising events: Coming across two other British women, cuties, from Manchester (my birthplace) out wandering around trying to promote Obama, with no clear idea why, precisely, except their vague, hand in the air tracing a loose flourish, "Change…?" And "…Maybe he can do something about global warming…?"
 
And the second: A new move-in, ex- of NYC, who was not even on our wavelength, invited us in for juice and cookies — and a needed loo break. Home-baked Toll Houses! Delightful runners, dog-walkers, snow-shovelers, slender citizens, all. We saw not a single portly Hampshirite in days, not a one.


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